Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

April 2, 2023 - Palm Sunday

Next Sunday:  Easter Sunday                Celebrant :  Fr. Williams


Holy Week


Today is Palm Sunday.  Blessed palm branches will be available at every Mass.  Blessed palms are a sacramental, not a Sacrament.  If taken home, they should be used with reverence.  When you no longer desire to keep them, you do not have to bring them back to church to be burned for the next Ash Wednesday’s ashes.  You can discard them reverently by breaking them into small pieces and bury them in your yard or garden where they will deteriorate naturally.  You may also burn them without saving the ashes.  As long as they no longer look like palms, you may discard them in any way you wish. 


As usual on Holy Thursday, April 6, I will have the Mass of the Last Supper at St. Ann starting at 5:30 p.m., and the Mass of the Last Supper at Sacred Heart at 7:30 p.m.  Feel free to attend at either as your schedule allows. 


On Good Friday at Sacred Heart I will participate in the three hours of services beginning at 12:00 noon and ending with distribution of Holy Communion at 2:30 p.m.  I will also celebrate the traditional three part Good Friday Service at St. Ann beginning at 7:00 p.m.


As of last July, St. Ann and Sacred Heart are officially a “Family of Parishes” we are to have only one Easter Vigil Mass.  Last year I celebrated Easter Vigil at St. Ann.  This year, the Easter Vigil will be at Sacred Heart.  Next year it will be at St. Ann.   Thus each church will celebrate Easter Vigil every other year.


On Tuesday, April 4, I must attend the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral.  I will forego the “social and dinner for priests” and try to be back to St. Ann in time for the 6:30 p.m. confessions, but I may be a few minutes late depending on how traffic is that day.  Skipping a meal will be good for my waistline. 


On Wednesday, April 5, I will hear confessions at Sacred Heart from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. or until all are heard.


Catholic Conference of Ohio


In a letter dated February 28, 2023, all the Catholic Bishops from the State of Ohio have asked faithful Catholics throughout Ohio to oppose the proposed ballot initiative for the November ballots enshrining and expanding abortion in the State of Ohio.  We have numerous copies of the letter at the doors of Church.  Please take a copy and read about this troubling ballot proposal aimed at the Catholic Church and pro-life efforts throughout the state.  You have seen similar initiatives reported in other states.  Catholics of good conscience are encouraged to read the letter, speak out, and stay informed.


Director of Evangelization for the St. Ann/Sacred Heart Family


I am pleased to announce that Mr. Jose Martinez is the new Director of Evangelization for the Parish Family of St. Ann / Sacred Heart.  He is hard at work familiarizing himself with both parishes.  He and I will host an evening for any and all questions soon after the end of the school year.  More to come….


Beacons of Light Organizational Structure


The recommended Beacons of Light organizational structure requires a Family of Parishes to have a Director of Evangelization, a Director of Worship, and a Director of Administration.  The structure I envision will also include a Director of Real Estate and Physical Assets. (This is due to the reality that our Family needs both churches to accommodate our Sunday attendance, and both schools to accommodate our existing and anticipated students.)    Together with the two principals, all four directors will serve as an extension of the pastor in their specific areas of expertise.  “Beacons” foresees an environment not simply focused on maintaining what is, but directed to outreach, evangelization, and growth. 


The symmetry of all this organizational structure is not based on the clerical model I, and most priests of my age, have grown up with!  Rather it operates on a model of assumed delegation, so that the younger priest who replaces me when I retire will feel comfortable assuming the role of pastor in an organizational model normative throughout the Archdiocese.  In other words, my oversight in this process is to establish a manner of operation designed not for me personally, but for my successors about three years from now.  The reality is that priests my age (70 plus) have functional and canonical “expiration dates.”   “Beacons” is a creative structuring for where we are going; not for where we have been.   


Review of Mass Schedules


There are “five Phases” of the implementation of Beacons of Light.  Family C-4 (comprised of Sacred Heart and St. Ann) has been designated a “one priest/pastor region.”  It is almost certain that this will become the reality by July 1, 2023.   This means that there is no assisting priest envisioned.  In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati no one priest is canonically permitted to celebrate more than three Masses on any one day.   At present we have two Sunday morning precept Masses at St. Ann and three Sunday morning precept Masses at Sacred Heart.  Five Masses may not be celebrated by any one priest.  Also every precept Mass at any parish must adhere to “space utilization requirements.”  We have a declining Sunday attendance based on St. Ann and Sacred Heart’s October Count numbers.  At least three of the five existing Sunday Masses are not well enough attended to meet these utilization requirements. 

After we have the data from the survey recently completed, we will empanel an ad hoc utilization committee representing St. Ann and Sacred Heart in order to study, discuss, and reconcile our Sunday numbers with Archdiocesan utilization requirements.   In the meantime, please remind parishioners that their presence each week at either St. Ann or Sacred Heart will result in a tremendous impact on the recommendations that the ad hoc committee will be required to bring to the Archdiocese.    

Re-introduction of Precious Blood at Communion


We have distributors lined up for two cups at “all three Sunday morning Masses at Sacred Heart.” 


For the time being we only have distributors for the cup at the 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Ann.  Again, we can only do this to the degree we have enough Eucharistic ministers willing to do cups at the various precept Masses. 




I keep running this article because there are new scams everyday


Remember I NEVER solicit funds, donations, favors, or any request of any kind over the telephone, text, email, carrier pigeon, drone, etc.   NEVER!  Do not allow yourself to be taken in by scammers.  Even if they have my recorded voice, be assured it is computer generated fake!  It is not me!!!  


Reminder for volunteers who work with or around children


Please be aware that failure to register with and complete the requirements of Safe Parish will result in your inability to continue to work with or around children in any parish and/or school setting.  We have been informed by the Archdiocese that there can be NO EXCEPTIONS.


Live Streaming for Precept Masses


Please remember to access the Sacred Heart / St. Ann Pastoral Region You Tube site by clicking on the following link:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVLLqbEY5hKWinwz069MVcg


Reflection on Scripture:


Palm Sunday brings back so many memories.  As a child, I remember receiving my own palm to carry home and put in my room.  As head sacristan in the seminary, I remember the year all the palms had mold on them and the good ones were kept for the altar decorations.  For the last 46 years (as a priest), I have taken the part of Christ while reading the Passion.  One year at St. Teresa, I found that some spiders had tagged along in the plastic bags in which the palms were shipped. But my personal memories always reflect a time of intense prayer and preparation. 


Sometimes the preparation part seems to over shadow the prayer part.    In the midst of all the preparations, try to participate in as many of the religious celebrations leading up to Easter as possible.  This is the holiest week of the year, and it comes only once per year.  Savor it and you will make special memories.


NEXT WEEK   Easter Sunday


Acts 10:34a, 37-43

Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8

Jn 20:1-9 or Mt 28:1-10


Theme: The Resurrection of Jesus 





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